Gepubliceerd op 24-04-2017

Vacature: PhD candidate ‘Publishing houses as brokers of knowledge in Indonesia’ (Deadline 18 May)

Research at the Faculty of Humanities is carried out by six research schools under the aegis of the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research. The Amsterdam School of Heritage, Memory and Material Culture (AHM), one of the six research schools, currently has a vacant PhD position as part of the NWO-funded project Decolonizing knowledge. Postcoloniality and the making of modern Indonesia’s knowledge culture, 1945 – 1970), led by Prof. Remco Raben.

Project description
This PhD project is part of the project Decolonizing knowledge. Postcoloniality and the making of modern Indonesia’s knowledge culture, 1945 – 1970. The aim of the project is to investigate the development of ‘knowledge cultures’ in Indonesia during the late-colonial and immediate post-colonial period (1945 -1970). In those decades, Indonesians faced the task to establish an infrastructure for education and the transfer of knowledge, and a formulation of the role and aims of knowledge in postcolonial society. The researchers of the three closely related research projects (the others looking at tertiary education and the transfer of knowledge in large businesses) will investigate the legacies of colonialism, the influence of nationalist discourses and the concrete policies in establishing a knowledge culture.

This project looks at the role of the publishing industry in Indonesia from the 1940s to 1960s in producing and distributing knowledge. It draws its methodology from the discipline of book studies, which investigate the production, distribution and consumption of books. The researcher will investigate the networks of publishing houses and their publication strategies. One central issue is how publishing houses perceived Dutch, ‘Western’ and ‘local’ knowledge and how they translated this to the needs of the newly independent country and the developing education system.

The research will involve a stock-taking of the most important academic and educational publishers in late-colonial and postcolonial times. At the core of this project is the investigation of the publishing house Van Hoeve, which specialized in books on science and technology and became a pivot in the publication of Indonesian scholarly work and educational publications.

In order to chart the national book production the researcher will use bibliographies and library catalogues. Ads in journals and newspapers can ad further information on publication policies and audiences. Besides, publishers’ archives, personal collections will be consulted. If possible, interviews will provide an additional source.

The PhD candidate will make at least two research trips to Indonesia. She/he will closely cooperate with the other researchers and share data with them. She/he will also contribute to conferences, a training course to junior Indonesian historians, and to an (real and online) exhibition on the history of publishing in the age of decolonization.

Tasks of the PhD candidate will include:

  • completion and defence of a PhD thesis within four years;
  • participation in meetings of the project research group;
  • presentations of intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
  • participation in the training program of the Graduate School / Research School;
  • contribute to teaching courses in book history during the second and/or third year.

The successful applicant must have:

  • a completed (R)MA or MPhil degree in Book History, History, Indonesian Studies, or other relevant field in the Humanities, and have an interest in intellectual history;
  • a thorough command of Dutch and good working knowledge in English and Indonesian;
  • excellent research skills;
  • experience in archival research, and preferably also fieldwork, including oral history;
  • excellent academic writing and presentation skills.

    Desirable qualities:

  • An interest in interdisciplinary approaches to historical research;
  • enthusiasm for collaborative work;
  • enthusiasm for communicating academic research to non-academic audiences.


Further information
For further information, please contact:

A full description of the research project ‘Decolonizing knowledge’ is available on request.

The PhD candidate will be appointed for 38 hours per week (1.0 FTE) for a period of 48 months at the Department of Arts & Culture of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam. Initially a contract will be given for 12 months, with an extension for the following 36 months on the basis of a positive evaluation. The intended starting date of the contract is 1 September 2017. The gross monthly salary (on full-time basis) will range from €2,191 during the first year to €2,801 during the fourth year, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities

Job application
Applications should include the following information, in one PDF file (not zipped):

  • a letter of motivation;
  • a full academic CV;
  • a list of grades obtained for the Bachelor and Master (or equivalent) programmes;
  • the names and contact details of two referees who may be approached by the selection committee;
  • an example of a published article, paper or thesis that is representative for the candidate’s research and writing skills.

The selection committee may ask shortlisted candidates for further research materials.

Please submit your complete application no later than 18 May 2017 to solliciteren2017-FGW@uva.nl.

Only complete applications submitted as one PDF file to this email address will be considered.

Please state vacancy number 17-177 in the subject line of your application.

Interviews will take place in June 2017. For candidates living abroad interviews may be held via Skype. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

More information and application: www.uva.nl

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